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The 14th annual Celebration of the Faculty

Upstate recognizes 15 faculty for going above and beyond with Gold Standard Award

Upstate Medical University recently presented 15 faculty members with a Gold Standard Award, recognizing hard-working, unsung heroes that go above and beyond every day.

The Gold Standard Award recognizes those with “a true passion for, and excellence in their work, whether it be in research, clinical service and/or teaching.” The 14th annual celebration, which took place virtually Tuesday, April 20, also recognizes new, promoted and emeritus members of the faculty.

Ann Botash, MD, is senior associate dean for faculty affairs and faculty development; her office  facilitates the awards process and organizes the Celebration of the Faculty event each year.

“This is important and unique because it’s faculty supporting and recognizing their peers,” Botash said. “This is a way to recognize someone who is in the trenches and really working hard. It shows that someone noticed and they are respected by their peers for what they’re doing.”

The awards committee, which consisted of nine Upstate faculty members, received a record number of nominations this year for the Gold Standard Award. Botash attributed that to the pandemic, which required countless Upstate faculty and staff to transcend their typical responsibilities. Many of this year’s winners received multiple nominations, with one nominee receiving 44 letters of support from peers, Botash said. Support like that made narrowing the field especially difficult.

“The theme among nominations was hard work,” she said. “They were doing so many things to help patients. Every one of the awardees had something written about them going above and beyond, about being tireless.”


The 2021 Gold Standard Award winners are:

Samuel Alpert, MD, Ophthalmology 

Steven Blatt, MD, Pediatrics

Dominick DeMichele, MSEd, RT(R)(CT), College of Health Professions

Matthew Glidden, MD, Medicine

Dragos Manta, MD, Medicine

Jeanna Marraffa, PharmD, MPH, DABAT, FAACT, Emergency Medicine 

William Marx, DO, Surgery

Jenica O'Malley, DO, Pediatrics

Gita Ramamurthy, MD, Psychiatry

Jana Shaw, MD, MPH, MS, Pediatrics

Abigail Smith, MS, Library

Telisa Stewart, DrPH, Public Health and Preventive Medicine 

Jennifer Vaughn, DNP, RN, NE-BC, College of Nursing

Katherine Willer, DO, MS, Radiology

Martha Wojtowycz, PhD, Public Health and Preventive Medicine 

The awards committee looks for faculty members who are “dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate about their work. This is not about publications, funding or RVUs. It is about commitment, vision and sincerity. Gold Standard honorees truly live the values of Upstate by exemplifying innovation, respect, service and integrity.”

Botash noted JoAnne Race, Stacy Mehlek and Kelly Donovan as playing critical roles in this year’s awards process and celebration. Botash said that even though she’s read all of the nominations and knows all of the winners in advance, the celebration is always a highlight.

“It brings home the kind of people we have here at Upstate and how much they care about what they do and how much they care about each other.”

For more information about the awards and celebration, visit: www.upstate.edu/facultydev/fac_affairs/awards.php